Weathering the Storm: Tips for Making an Emergency Medication Plan

Updated on: December 26, 2018

Originally posted on: November 26, 2018
The Roadmap for Medicare staff specialize in all topics related to Medicare Part D, choosing a Medicare plan, and making smart health decisions in retirement.

Each year, many people experience an emergency related to severe weather, such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow or wildfires. For seniors who rely on daily medication to stay healthy, weather-related emergencies can pose even greater challenges. Lost or damaged medicine can present a life-threatening situation for people living in affected areas.

Here are seven tips to prepare for a severe weather emergency:

  1. Make a medication list: Keep an updated list of all your medications, including their strengths and dosages, and phone numbers for your doctors and pharmacies. Store the information on your smartphone and place a copy in a waterproof bag or container.
  2. Carry your healthcare cards: Keep your health insurance and prescription-drug benefit cards with you in a waterproof bag. That way, it will be easier to order new prescriptions if you lose access to your medication.
  3. Keep your medications together: Store medications in their original containers with the original labels and place prescription bottles in a waterproof bag or container.
  4. Prepare for special needs: If your medication requires refrigeration or electronic equipment, have a plan for temporary storage and administration.
  5. Order early: Reorder as soon as you are able, and consider ordering a 90-day supply of medication through your plan’s home delivery pharmacy to ensure a full stock.
  6. Have an emergency medicine kit: Stock a supply kit with any nonprescription medicines you may need, such as pain relievers, cold and allergy medicines, and antacids.
  7. Share your plan: Discuss your emergency medication plan with your pharmacist, doctor and family.

Plus, here are two important things to do AFTER a weather emergency occurs:

  1. Make sure your medication is safe to use. See if the appearance or smell has changed. Excessive moisture or heat can contaminate drugs. If you’re unsure about a drug’s safety, contact a local pharmacist or healthcare provider to discuss your concern.
  2. Stay on track with your dose. If you haven’t been able to take your medication, contact a pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible – even if you’re not experiencing any negative health effects. Do not take additional doses to make up for those you’ve missed, unless directed by your doctor to do so.

Being prepared for severe weather is vital for your safety and health. Follow these tips and make sure you have a plan for your prescription medications and for any assistance you might require in an emergency.